‘Meeting the Pope was an enormous experience’

By Mary Dennehy

MEETING Pope Francis in the Capuchin Day Centre for the Homeless last Saturday was an “enormous experience” for Brother Bryan Shortall, who is a native of Kilnamanagh.

Brother Bryan joined the Capuchin Franciscans when he was 18 and was ordained a priest in June, 1997.

Brother Bryan meets the Pope

Brother Bryan Shortall met the Pope at the Capuchin Day Centre 

He is now the parish priest in St Michan’s, which is the parish of the Fruit and Vegatable Markets in Dublin’s North Inner City.

Last Saturday, August 25, Brother Bryan was present in the Capuchin Day Centre when Pope Francis visited.

 “I haven’t landed yet, I’m still on a high . . . meeting the Pope is not something that happens everyday.

“It really was an enormous experience and an enormous honour for me personally.”

He added: “The Pope was impressed by the fact that the day centre also caters for homeless families, and that, despite the great difficulties they experience daily, they can sit down and have a meal together.

“The Pope’s visit was a wonderful tribute to the work of the Capuchin Day Centre and I was delighted to be able to be there and welcome him.

“The doors of the Capuchin Day Centre are always open, no one is refused, everybody gets a welcome . . . this is the spirit of the day centre since it opened.

“The Pope encouraged and supported the continuation of this spirit.”

When asked of the national significance of the Pope’s visit, Brother Bryan said: “I think it was a huge affirmation for people who still feel they want to be part of the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church.

“The Pope did his best to reach out to people on the margins and to those who felt hurt by the Catholic Church.”

Brother Bryan believes that the Pope is focused on making “proactive inroads” into addressing abuses.

“This is an ongoing process, something we need to continue with and engage with”, he said.

Located on Bow Street, the Capuchin Day Centre feeds people breakfast and dinner from Monday to Saturday.

For further information visit www.capuchindaycentre.ie

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